Techdirt reports that Steve Jobs has been pitching studio execs on a scheme whereby DVD owners can pay extra for the "privilege" of ripping their DVDs -- but only for playback on iPods and iPhones. The thing is, Jobs fought the music industry back in the early iTunes day, arguing that people who buy CDs should have the right to rip them without paying anything extra.
So what's the difference? DRM -- Digital Rights Management. This is the anti-copying software that studios put on DVDs, allegedly to "stop piracy." But DRM isn't doing anything to stop piracy (people who want to pirate DVDs just break the DRM, because it's impossible to stop determined attackers from copying bits on their own computers). It seems like the primary use for DRM is to sell you back the rights you used to get for free, so that the studios can pick your pocket every time you find a new way to use the media you buy from them.
As I've said before: this isn't a business model, it's a urinary tract infection. Before DRM, all the uses you could imagine for your media flowed in a healthy gush -- rip a CD, make a backup, put it on an iPod, make a mix disc, stream it from a home server, etc. Now it comes in a painful, drip-by-drip trickle -- want to watch your DVD on an iPod? That'll be three bucks please. Want to make a backup? Sorry, nope, you have to buy another copy (as the old MPAA head Jack Valenti used to say: "You can't back up a set of wine glasses -- why should you be able to back up your movies?").
Think about that. The Studios and Corporations want to charge you, the consumer, two, three, or multiple times for something you already own, while only paying the writers of such digital content once if at all. (Much like the music industry makes you buy a 30 second ringtone of a song you already own. Thankfully there are already ways around such corporate idiocy.)
Since the writers aren't getting paid for their creations anyway, I hope digital "piracy" will thrive. And it will. Thanks to the ease of YouTube, and BitTorrent file sharing sites, and nice programs that let you rip your DVDs into your computer for viewing on iPods, or Apple TVs, or other products.
As has been noted on this blog before, the great thing about emerging technologies for easily creating and distributing content, the future that Joss Whedon alluded to is around the corner. And then the creators will be able to take full control of the process which will make the corporations dinosaurs doomed for extinction.
No wonder corporate America is trying to grab control of the internet.